Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Post-SHOT Adrenaline Dump

Am frantically trying to catch up on my sleep, which seems sort of counterproductive. The frantic-iker I am, the less I sleep! Plus, we've got people working on the Bunker, a bunch of small jobs that we thought would be postponed until spring. With the amazing weather, we decided to go for it. That's why you heard hammering on this week's podcast!

I placed my order today for the MPA 6.5 Creedmoor bolt gunI am very excited. Of course you'll see it on SHOOTING GALLERY next season (assuming I'm renewed, of course). I've also got another rifle project under way that I'll tell you about a little later. Plus, Clint Beyer of Beyer Barrels gave me a really slick 10-22 barrel at SHOT. So while I was unpacking my Sweetie saw the barrel and asked me what I was going to do with it. I said, well of course, I'm going to build another 10-22! To which she replied, "Seriously?"

Well, yeah! I ask you, what would you do if you had a world class barrel laying around? Really, it's the only thing I can think of to do. Hmmmmmmmmmmm…a Tac-Sol X-Ring or Volquartsen stainless steel receiver? Or think out of box and get an NDS receiver in OD green? Or maybe I should just breathe into a paper bag until the feeling passes…

Want to read a REALLY stupid piece by a really smart guy? Visit TTAG for their latest incendiary screed from Dan Baum, who is a world class writer (GUN GUYS, the book, and his brilliant piece on concealed carry in Harper's), a gun guy and a homie from Boulder. Honestly, the piece on TTAG is a pile of crap, the usual recycled "If we're nice and lick the boots of our Betters, why, in no time at all they'll give us a biscuit!"
It wasn’t the riots that brought about the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts; it was African Americans demonstrating, under terrible duress, that they were decent, God-fearing, patriotic Americans to whom a great injustice had been done. It wasn’t Act Up that moved the needle on gay marriage; it was gays and lesbians showing the rest of us that their way of loving is as rich and worthy as anybody’s. Blacks and gays began enjoying their “natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected” rights, in other words, when they demonstrated to the majority, by moral example, that they deserved them.
Good Lord, Dan! Have you lost your mind? "Deserved them?" And BTW, I happened to be growing up in the South in the 1950s and 1960s, and heroes like Martin Luther King didn't "prove" he was just a good ole boy like his oppressor. He stood up and said he was willing to die, but he wasn't going to step to the back of the bus, so to speak. I was also in New York City in the mid-1970s, at the rise of "gay power." What happened there was that men and women stood up and said they were willing to die, but they weren't going back in the closet.

And BTW BTW, if someone steals my property, regardless of whether it is a hammer, a car or an AR-15, I AM NOT COMPLICIT IN ANY CRIME COMMITTED WITH THOSE STOLEN TOOLS! That is the law of the land. The criminal who stole the tool is the SOLE person with any responsibility for his or her crimes. To suggest otherwise is 1) wrong, 2) stupid, and 3) gives succor to our blood enemies. I say that as someone who has invested the money in safes, alarm systems, video surveillance and who has recommended that all gun owners take steps to secure their guns.

The idea that the government grants us those rights we "deserve" might play well at the faculty cocktail parties in Boulder, but I suggest you go north, to Loveland, to Ft. Collins or (shudder) Cheyenne, and you will learn that there are some rights that are natural, rights that are universal and inalienable, not granted at the whim of the University of Colorado faculty senate or some clown show in Washington D.C. Sooner or later, brother, you gotta choose sides...

Just my opinion.

Anyway, the rest of you guys read the whole thing and make your own decisions.

If you need a palate-clensing sorbet after that, I suggest a visit to the Art of Manliness blog (heaven knows I could use the trip!) and their article on Winston Churchill. They begin with a great quote from William Manchester's biography of the great man, The Last Lion:
“If ever there was a Renaissance man, he was it. In the age of the specialist, he was the antithesis, our Leonardo. As a writer he was a reporter, novelist, essayist, critic, historian, and biographer. As a statesman he served, before becoming His Majesty’s first magistrate, as minister for the colonies and for trade, home affairs, finance, and all three of the armed forces. Away from his desk he was at various times an airplane pilot, artist, farmer, fencer, hunter, breeder of racehorses, polo player, collector of tropical fish, and shooter of wild animals in Africa. One felt he could do anything.”
We could use a couple of Churchills about now.






Monday, January 26, 2015

A Must Read…from a Former Democrat...


This piece at the Neo-Neocon Blog is short, brilliant and powerful. It is a simple message. It is about being wrong:
I remember one of those original blogs had a joke that amused me mightily at the time. It went something like this: Hey, I think I know what’s wrong. We thought it was 9/11/2001, but actually we got the year backwards; it was really 1002. 
The idea was that progress was an illusion, and that somehow through some terrible time warp or wormhole we’d been catapulted to the Middle Ages, or what used to be called the Dark Ages. 
That was a joke, but not really a joke either. I’ve had occasion to think of it many times since. It seems to be a common thought among people who live in times of jarring transition.
Please read the whole thing, then think about it. A lot.

This week marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. Our President didn't bother to attend because after all, they were only Jews. I went to Auschwitz not because I wanted to, but because I felt like I had to. I needed to touch the boxcars with my own hands; stand in the gas chamber as if I could read the scratches on the walls; if I could stand beneath those guard towers and explain why the rights we have as Americans are important; if I could change one mind, it would be worth it. The camps will haunt my nightmares until I die.

And like Neo-Neocon, I wonder what else I'm wrong about.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Lucid P7 4X Optic

The best product I didn't see at SHOT:

I ran into Jason Wilson as I was being towed hither and yon across the SHOT SHOW, and I was passing he told me about the P7 and how I'd have to see it…of course, I didn't make it, since I didn't make it anywhere that wasn't on The List.

So Jason, here's the specs on the new 4X P7:

• Featuring the NEW P7 Reticle.
• Auto Brightness Sensor - So the operator does not have to take a hand off the weapon to manipulate the reticle brightness when going from a bright environment to a darker one.
• Reversible Mounting Pins - We made the mounting pins reversible so the Bull Pup weapons can utilize the HD7 with out cracking the knuckles of the operator when the bolt carrier needs charged (thanks, Jason!).
• AA Battery — An economical and readily available power source for offering over 2500 hours on a single AA battery.
• Mounting — A robust Picatinny rail mount is built in for secure and rock solid mounting to most weapons platforms.
• 100% Waterproof, Shockproof & Fogproof — Because you never know what environmental conditions you will be in when you need to rely on your weapon system.
• Available“Killflash” filter.

I have found my HD7 to be a tank. It's mounted on my Tavor and likely to stay there. I'll get one of the P7s as soon as I can and let you all know how it works. BTW, $439 MSRP.

Thanks, guys…and this year —THIS YEAR! — I'll get to your long-distance training event in Wyoming!

Home Again Home Again Jiggity-Jig

Here's a shocker…my feet don't hurt! I would happily do commercials for Lowa Boots — I alternated between my two pair of Lowas, a GTX and a pair of the Desert Boots favored by U.S. Special Forces and the boot I used in Africa. So there's an unsolicited plug for a non-sponsor!

I would have loved to sit down with the execs at Lowa and waxed poetic, but this year at SHOT I achieved my own unfortunate "personal best"…except for transit to or between appointments, I did not set one foot on the Show floor. And I still did not management to speak to all the people I needed to sit down with. Or, more grammatically, with whom I wished to sit. Like Lowa, or Crimson Trace, or DoubleStar, etc. Sigh.

I do have some bullet points from SHOT 2015. Let's start with what I was right about…

Pistol caliber carbines were everywhere. Marshal and I pretty much hit this nail on the head. Both the  massive flood of AR-based carbines and various subsets of submachine guns were everywhere, and the buyer I'm gonna venture a few guesses on "why" — availability of low-cost East Bloc 9mm ammunition vs. 5.56 prices…the minimized blast of 9mm and the other pistol cartridges from 16-inch barrels as opposed to 5.56…and most importantly, the sheer "cool factor" of these guns. I would expect a lot of 3-Gunners to pick up one of the relatively inexpensive Stag 9T as a great practice rifle.

Pistol variants were perhaps a spec less visible than Marshal and I anticipated, probably because of fallout from the ATF's nonsensical "Open Letter" released in the Friday before SHOT. There were still a huge number of them, many, if not most, fitted with stabilizing braces, but they were less front and center than they would have been if that giant turd hadn't dropped on Friday.

I had a chance at Media Day to sit down for a few minutes with my good friend Mike McNett at DoubleTap Ammunition. I outlined my idea for a 9mm round optimized for 16-inch barrels. We disused several options, including his 77-gr pill going very fast and a heavy 147-gr bullet. McNett is going to start work on both a target and a self-defense version right away. I'm also going to have the same conversation with Peter Pi and Mike Shovel at Corbon as soon as I can. I want to get carbine-optimized pistol ammo on the shelves as soon as possible so the little guns can live up to their potential.

The "commoditization" of the AR platform is now complete…that is, new AR accessories, mods, versions, etc. are no longer about function, but rather the exclusive province of fashion. My mentor in manufacturing Dave Garwood once said to me that all industries, if they succeed, eventually evolve to fashion…I, of course, thought he was nuts. Upon reflection, it turned out that he was exactly right. I could go into a long dissertation about product development "S Curves,"how innovation in form and function takes place on the steep upward gradient of the curve while, at the almost horizontal line at the top of the curve charges tend toward fashion changes…but you'd probably fall asleep. Instead, think about AR triggers — when we first mod'ed them on SHOOTING GALLERY's first season 13 years ago, we did it exactly the same way we did 1911s…with stones on the original military triggers (which sucked). That evolved into jogs to make the stoning easier...drop in triggers...specialty, highly evolved drop-in triggers…colored, even more specialty triggers…etc. Maybe the ultimate vision of the fashion AR are the Unique AR hand guards.


BTW, during my frantic 10-minutes-until-closing-time Friday afternoon sprint to the finish, I made myself late by stopping by the Geissele Automatics booth to tell them that I pay MSRP for Geissele triggers because I believe they are the best out there. They asked me whether they could publicize I'd said that, and I of course said yes. I also ordered an ALG red dot mount, another Geissele-derived product, for my Glock 34…yes, I have finally decided to go "Open!" I also ordered an Aimpoint T2 on the fly for that mount. And yes, I agreed to pay MSRP! LOL!

FINALLY, THE SINGLE BIGGEST TREND OF SHOT 2015…

QUIET!
SHOT 2015 WAS ALL ABOUT THE MAINSTREAMING OF SUPPRESSORS…

Silencers hit the tipping point Big Time. My little cherubs and seraphim tell me that even the Boy Scouts of Maine are considering a pilot program of using suppressor on their firearm training program. There are now three massive "Poles of Power" in the suppressor industry…the Old Guard, including Gemtech, SureFire and several others…the new powerhouse of SilencerCo (best booth at SHOT 2015, BTW), whose Salvo shotgun suppressor and focus on suppressors for hunting is helping reshape the industry…and the emerging world-shaker of Sig Sauer Suppressors, introduced to the world at SHOT 2015 and powered by the intellectual team of my old friends Kevin Brittingham, Ethan Lessard and John Hollister, all formerly of AAC (Ethan worked at Sig before we went to AAC…and the world goes round and round). I'll be headed up to Sig in New Hampshire in April to go through the product line, including suppressors.

The key point is that all the silencer guys, new and old, are united in the push to move these fundamental safety devices off the $200 tax stamp to ether the AOW $5 stamp or off the NFA list completely — which is the logical, most intelligent outcome. I am more convinced than ever that the ATF's "Open Letter" will price to be a major misstep for that agency, shining the light on the inadequacies — and the often ridiculous — provisions of the NFA. It is not impossible that silencers will be one of the beneficiaries of shiny some light on the outmoded piece of panic legislation.

Finally, I bought this:


MasterPiece Arms Bolt Action Rifle in 6.5 Creedmore. I can't wait!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

THE BEST DEFENSE

Named BEST SHOOTING SHOW of the year at 2015 GOLDEN MOOSE AWARDS!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Some Random Thoughts on the ATF "Open Letter"

My friend Kevin Creighton says in an email that this is a high-risk move for ATF…this will eventually go to court (hopefully sooner than later), and its going to be hard to explain to a judge and jury how an individual can "redesign" a firearm by raising it roughly 12 inches and letting it touch a body part. This is a little bit like a dog and baby analogy…you can dress a dog in swaddling clothes and put him in a crib, but hey, he's still a pooch. And if ATF fails to make the argument stick, SBRs and SBSs are pretty much out the door.

A bigger up front question is if the ATF "Open Letter" stands, it grants the agency sweeping powers to "ban by redefinition." For example, AR pistols with buffer tubes have certainly be legally defined as "handguns' for decades. A pistol with a buffer tube — a necessary part of the firearm — can be shouldered, exactly the same as a pistol fitted with a stabilizing brace. The same "logic," and I use the word in its loosest possible connotation, can be applied to the buffer tube itself, which was neither "designed nor approved" for use as a shoulder stock. The classic Mare's Leg lever action rifle can be shouldered, albeit awkwardly (which is the case with most of these options).

The point is that the whole concept of short-barreled rifles and short-barreled shotguns no longer make sense — if they ever did. I think we as an industry, and as a culture, need to call on the lawmakers who support us to address yet another lame situation where legal gun owners can get caught up on a technicality and face federal felony charges.

UPDATES

This from my friend Iain Harrison at RECOIL MAGAZINE:
"...the missive sent to FFL holders from Max Kingery at ATF Tech Branch was an opinion, and you know what they say about opinions and assholes. If the ATF were confident that what they were peddling would hold up in a court of law, they would have issued a ruling, rather than opinion. Then they would have published it on their website for all to see. As yet, they haven’t."
This from Prince Law Offices, which has been on top of the stabilizing brace issue from the beginning:
"ATF claims that it applies common meaning when using the term “redesign”. I don’t know of a single person who would think that “redesign” entails the misuse of an object. If anything, I would venture to say it would require the individual to modify an existing object. If I were to use a screw driver to pry open an object did I just redesign it? Is using a pencil to drum on the table redesigning it into a drum stick?"
By all means, read the whole articles!

Kerry's Stunning Racist Faux Pas!

Where is the outrage??? Our Secretary of State takes James Taylor on his "Groveling on Our Knees" tour of France! James Taylor?!?! Martha White's Self-Rising Flour!

Why not Beyonce?

A dat da girl dem need and dem not stop cry without apology
Buck dem da right way – dat my policy
Sean Paul alongside – now hear what da man say – Beyonce
Dutty ya, dutty ya, dutty ya
Beyonce sing it now ya
France, we be sorry…

50 Cent?

I don't know what you heard about me
But a bitch can't get a dollar out of me
No Cadillac, no perms, you can't see
That I'm a motherf%$^' P-I-M-P
But we sorry your cartoonists got K-I-L-L

Eminem?

…no…wait...


Friday, January 16, 2015

And Speaking of Turds in the Punchbowl...

This is an Open Letter on the Redesign of "Stabilizing Braces" from Max Kingery, Acting Chief, Firearms Technology Criminal Branch, BATFE. Rich Grassi of The Tactical Wire received this Open Letter this afternoon. Forgive me if it's been published earlier. Here's the "nut graf," as it were:
The pistol stabilizing brace was neither “designed” nor approved to be used as a shoulder stock, and therefore use as a shoulder stock constitutes a “redesign” of the device because a possessor has changed the very function of the item. Any individual letters stating otherwise are contrary to the plain language of the NFA, misapply Federal law, and are hereby revoked.  
Any person who intends to use a handgun stabilizing brace as a shoulder stock on a pistol (having a rifled barrel under 16 inches in length or a smooth bore firearm with a barrel under 18 inches in length) must first file an ATF Form 1 and pay the applicable tax because the resulting firearm will be subject to all provisions of the NFA.
What does this mean? On first reading, it seems the ATF has completely walked back the approval of the Sig brace and other subsequent versions. Hopefully, Adam Kraut at PrinceLaw.com will weigh in pretty quickly...they've been on top of the whole ATF waffling issue from the beginning.

A Great Bog Ole Sigh Day...

…today was a perfect day to be on the range. So I sat in my office staring out at my range, staring out my shooting bench, staring at the sunshine, and working like a CRAZY MAN to be ready for SHOT next week!

Of course, I'm not. Marshal asked me for a list of "must visit" companies for both Monday Media Day and the overall Show. The Media Day list would take, like, 2 days to get through. Forget the main list. Still, there are a couple of things that stand out:

• As I said more than a month ago on the podcast, this is the Year of the Pistol Caliber Carbine. Nine-mil carbines have blossomed like cactus in the spring here at the Secret Hidden Bunker II.

• It's also a Pistol Caliber Pistol year, that is, both the AR variants (check out Angstadt Arms) and a flood of carbine/submachinegun pistol variants like the announced Uzi PRO and the CZ Scorpion EVO.

• This will be the Year of the Prepper, survival gone big-time mainstream.

• It's a New Product Year — there has been pent-up new products while companies filled the flood of Obama-orders…the results will be visible at SHOT.

I'm hoping for some eclectic-tissity, please GOD no more "innovative AR rail systems that break the mold!!!"

I actually think this might qualify:


I got an email on this baby this morning. It's a Korth Sky Marshal 9mm revolver. The German Korths have always been considered the Rolls Royces of the revolver work, with their MSRPs hovering around the cost of a couple of a couple of Wilson Combat ARs or a relatively crummy, but serviceable, Kia Sportage. I've handled Korth .357 revolvers — and they are indeed the evolved version of the Colt Python — but I can'r recall ever firing one. No sane person would trust me not to break it, probably.

Anyway, the Sky Marshal is a 6-shot 9mm that loads without moon clips. It features a rail on the right side for mounting a light and it looks…Germanic, or perhaps like the odd love child of a Chiappa Rhino 2-inch and an S&W Night Guard .327. I wish it was in .44 Special, in which case I'd get a bank loan and have one in a minute!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

On Working With the Media

I note that our blood enemies have launched their own "media education program," bankrolled by the nasty little fascist in New York:
To help journalists and news organizations in the Southwest improve their reporting on guns and gun violence, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia Journalism School is organizing a two-day regional workshop April 17 and 18, 2015 for reporters, editors, news directors, photographers, producers, and bloggers. The workshop, funded by Everytown for Gun Safety, will offer independent expert briefings and specialized reporting skills training to enhance the practical ability of journalists to report on guns and gun violence knowledgeably, ethically and effectively. The workshop will cover such topics as state and federal gun laws; patterns of gun sales and gun trafficking; national trends and polling; education and prevention initiatives; social, economic and public health impacts; and special populations (e.g. children and youth, women and returning veterans.)  
Speakers include national public health and policy experts; researchers and clinicians; award-winning journalists, and prevention advocates and survivors.
I note that Dart is offering $350 "travel and expense" stipends to 15 select journalists. Guess where that $350 comes from?

I've seen a lot of buzz on the Internet that basically asks why the firearms industry isn't running exactly the same program.

Well, we did.

Years ago, working with NSSF President Doug Painter, Doug and I created the Media Education Program. The Program was tweaked by Bill Brassard, who is still with NSSF, and Paul Erhardt, now with his own media company that works with IDPA, Apex Tactical and others. In the 6-year span of the NSSF Media Education Program our focus was to put guns in the hands of the journalists and teach them to shoot.

I was privileged to oversee a cadre of instructors that has never been equalled, including Jerry Miculek, Kay Clark, Randi Rogers, "Evil Roy," Bruce Gray, Todd Jarrett, Chris Edwards from GSSF, Walt Rauch from IDPA, Dave Thomas from USPSA, Lisa Munson, Dave Arnold, Dave Lauck, Olympic athletes, top law enforcement trainers like Bill Murphy, top military trainers, etc.

In working with my instructors beforehand, I emphasized that they were to answer any and every question as honestly and thoroughly as possible, because we all fundamentally believed in the correctness and, for lack of a better word, the honor of our cause. Whenever possible, we wanted to show, not tell. In my other conversations with media experts on our side, I steadfastly held to our position of not proselytizing the Second Amendment…my feeling (which proved to be true) was that our students would arrive in the same place through the training. That is, we arranged the cart and the horse in their proper configuration.

We structured the Program on the writings of Malcolm Gladwell, which were revolutionary at the time. The situation we found was that most journalists (and this is unfortunately still the case) unconditionally accept every word from the antigun side as gospel truth handed down on a marble tablet. Our primary concept as articulated by myself and Erhardt was that we weren't trying to "convert" the journalists to our side; rather, we thought of ourselves like a defense attorney in a capital case...we weren't trying to "convert" the jurors to our side of the story; rather we wanted to create a small shadow of doubt that every word coming from our enemies was true. If we could plant that doubt, we had succeeded.

We were also not afraid to reach out to there who shared our views. I brought trainers from the Pink Pistols, the largest gay self-defense group, on board. And yes, I took a lot of crap — a LOT of crap! — for it. But it was the right thing to do. My absolute statement was that people who shoot, hunt, compete with firearms, carry guns for self-defense...they are our friends! Deeds, not words.

The Media Education Program was the most successful media outreach ever attempted by the gun culture. At the beginning of the Program, Sarah Brady had bragged that with one phone call in the morning she could be on all 3 national networks (3 national networks…isn't that quaint???) by that evening; the Program broke Brady's stranglehold on the news without directly attacking the antigun "spinners." We made unprecedented inroads into the antigun media...and it drove our enemies crazy. I even got an email from a prominent antigun activist who had, ironically, come up through magazine journalism much as I had. His email read, "Who ARE you?" My answer, equally cryptic, was, "I am you."

The Program was expanded into Hollywood with the now semi-legendary stunt, property master, armorer and action/second unit director events, addressing the antigun biases in Hollywood once again through training and, honestly, exposure to our marvelous team of instructors. After the first 2 events, major Hollywood directors and even well-known actors began asking about upcoming events and whether they could attend. We expanded the Program again into fiction, working with the Mystery Writers of America to produce an event for their national convention that the group called the best, most successful event ever held by that group. My plan was to keep chipping away at American popular culture, based on concepts created by myself and Paul Erhardt on the "normalization" of firearms in American society.

We succeeded beyond our wildest crazy-ass best-case projections. The industry still benefits from the Program, which ended years ago. We forged alliances within the shooting sports and training community and helped everyone to understand the importance — and the power —  of speaking with a single voice and staying on message.

There are many great stories that came out of the Program. I tend to remember our victories...there was one antigun columnist in California who started his column on the Program with something to the effect that one usually thought of gun owners as "ignorant hillbillies," but that "these people are slick, sophisticated and they almost sold me!" LOL! I loved it when the Brady organization called me "crazy" in the New York Times.

In the end, the industry decided that such events were too expensive to continue. Yes, they were expensive. But the payoff was huge. Worse, I think we as an industry simply retreated from dealing with the MSM, and like a stretched rubber band, it popped back to shorter than it was before. The industry to the best of my knowledge maintains no media outreach.

Here's one last little bit of irony. Note the "$350 expense stipend" offered for this event. The bottom of the one-pager put our by Dart Center reads, "This workshop is being made possible by a generous grant from Everytown for Gun Safety."

When we ran the Media Education Program, we initially considered offering journalists a travel stipend to help them get to the event. The journalists I bounced the idea off of were ENRAGED, furious that I would even consider such an "unethical" action. How dare I suggest they take money from the "gun lobby?" And yet how easily they take money from the antigun lobby...

Me thinks any "journalist" who accepts the $350 "stipend" is a whore.